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PHL 394 - SpTp:Philsophy at the Margins

Within philosophy much of our work is abstract. This may lead us to think that philosophy has nothing to do with the concrete and personal matters of embodied life. In particular, metaphysics may seem to have nothing to do with social categories like gender, race, sexuality, or class. If we accept this, perhaps we think that philosophy is a haven from the painful realities of racism, sexism, and homophobia. If we accept that philosophy is abstract and thus removed from the vicissitudes of culture and history, perhaps we do not think it is fair to critically examine western philosophy as a discipline that developed in conjunction with imperialist and colonialist expansion and domination. This course asks philosophy to account for itself. We will examine how metaphysics, epistemology, and political theory are deployed jointly in an effort to bring about social change. The authors featured in this course represent marginalized positions in western society and in the history of western philosophy. Key questions include the following: How are the tools of western philosophy employed by marginalized peoples? How can philosophy serve as critique of contemporary society and how can it be an agent for change? Are the forms of rationality deployed in western philosophy sufficient for the task of bringing about social justice, or must the tradition be augmented?
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Spring 2019, Fall 2018
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